DURHAM, N.H. – University of New Hampshire graduates have served in the Peace Corps since the volunteer organization was launched in 1961. Today, 21 UNH alum are working in 20 countries, teaching everything from English to small business development. That number places the university at 25 in the Peace Corps 2011 ranking of colleges and universities in the medium size category.
UNH alumni volunteers currently are serving in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Eastern Caribbean, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kyrgyzstan, Mexico, Morocco, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Senegal, Tonga, Uganda, Ukraine, Vanuatu and Zambia, and are working in areas of agriculture, education, English, health, small business development and youth development.
“When I joined the Peace Corps nearly 17 years ago, I knew that I wanted to give back to society and that I desperately wanted a life-changing experience. But I had no idea my Peace Corps experience in rural Panama would serve as a common thread in my life beyond my service. It shaped my current professional focus,” says Charlie French, an associate professor in community and economic development for UNH’s Cooperative Extension.
“Today, I tell my community and environmental planning students who express an interest in serving in the Peace Corps that it could be the most profound decision that they make in their lives; one that will influence their very core being,” French adds.
Since 1961, 656 UNH alumni have served as Peace Corps volunteers. Today, Peace Corps volunteers work in 77 countries in the areas of education, youth and community development, health and HIV/AIDS, business information and communication technology, agriculture and environment.
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.